Sleep at Night, Find Meaning by Day
To sleep at night and live meaningfully by day requires
a comprehensive integration of your life and money, a full understanding of
the role of money in your life and a good relationship with money.
This is your route to personal and financial freedom.
Evidence that money remains a key source of anxiety comes from Wired (UK) Magazine’s quarterly analysis of Citizens Advice website searches. The CA has been tracking searches on its website for three years now. The magazine’s infographic shows that ‘Debt and Money’ have been consistently at the top of individuals’ anxieties since records began.
It is noteworthy and sad that 11pm on a Sunday evening thousands of people can’t sleep at night. This is the peak time for CA website searches for answers to money and many of life’s other problems.
Financial and social pressure
It seems certain that many of these problems stem from today’s enormous economic and social pressures. Consumer businesses drive these pressures by persuading you to buy things you want rather than need. Similarly, social media drives your fear of being shamed, deprived of connection and excluded from the pack. The two are connected, of course, and this leads to immense pressure to become someone who you are not. This usually comes at a significant personal and financial cost. With worry like this it is not surprising you can’t sleep at night.
This pressure comes at a time when austerity has hit personal finances hard. In the UK real wage growth remains negative as wage inflation stays below price inflation. This is in spite of low levels of unemployment. Globalisation and technology has similarly hit blue-collar America. As a result US businesses closed 65,000 factories and shed five million jobs between 2001 and 2013. It is a similar story in much of the Western world. In contrast, job creation has been rampant in China and the Far East.
The phenomenon of scarcity
The outcome of these social and economic pressures is the phenomenon of scarcity. In scarcity, you tell yourself you don’t have enough money, time, space, leisure, work etc etc. Consequently, the scarcity dragon is alive and well in our society today. It is burning us up in our attempts always to get more of everything.
Meanwhile a huge financial service industry devotes significant resources to the sale of personal financial products. However, what you really want, it seems, is impartial guidance, mentorship and skilled help across the entire spectrum of your life and money.
That’s the implication of the CA research. Many clients who have not been able to sleep at night have told us a similar story. Financial products can come later; help and support is what is wanted now.
Relieving financial anxiety, therefore, is an important first step in moving from a life that’s not okay to one that’s deeply fulfilled. And to journey from sleepless nights to wholehearted, fulfilled, meaningful days requires a fusion of your life and money. First and foremost, you want your money to support your life and work for you, not against you.
Taking a holistic approach to life and money is more than just trying to develop a unified estate, pension, savings and tax plan. It requires you to listen to and act on the psychologist, the accountant and the technician in you.
Your inner advisers who help you sleep at night
Your inner psychologist wants to understand your relationship with money and its role in your life. Money behaviour is driven by powerful emotions such as fear, greed and envy. Money is also a proxy for the ego. Your ego manipulates financial behaviour to protect or promote the self you think you should be to the detriment of your true self. Money above all has the power to cause immense pain and shame. When combined with a poor understanding of money it can lead to destructive life and financial decisions.
The accountant in you probably wants to understand a bit about money flows. It wants to know how much is coming in, how much is going out and where to. Your inner accountant is also trying to assess the future impact of today’s life and financial decisions – and probably finding it quite difficult.
Similarly, the money technician in you wants to understand how money works and its role in your life. Money has many roles to play, from the basic transactional uses you put money to every day, to its role in savings and debt. Financial products are often complex and take time and effort to understand properly.
Money also has an enormous role to play as a teacher. The mistakes you make with money can teach you much about yourself. How you recover from those mistakes is a key determinant of your future behaviour. Sadly, recognition of money’s role as a teacher is often overlooked.
Take the long-term view
Every financial decision you take today has an impact on your life many years from now. Your future comfort and security depends on what you save today. However, living a fulfilled life today is dependent, to a degree, on what you spend today. The psychologist in you will want to come to an inner deal to balance short term passion with longer term prudence.
Financial and life planning focuses on the long term nature of money. For this reason, it will help resolve your inner conflict between passion and prudence. Planning is an important and powerful tool that leads to an inner peace and a fulfilled life. A good plan will establish boundaries in those areas that often get out of control. It will resolve how much money you spend, how much you save, how much time you spend at work, how much with family.
Planning our lives and money enables us to live lives of freedom within our own defined boundaries. That is why planning is liberating, not a constraint as so many people see it. It is perfectly possible to be spontaneous within a planed life.
However, we have identified three common problems that families and individuals face with their lives and money.
Where it all goes wrong
First, they rarely know precisely where they stand today. They don’t know who they are, where or what they want to be, what they own, what they owe, their strengths and weaknesses.
Second, they are not living the lifestyle they aspire to. Sometimes its even more serious because they don’t even know what they aspire to. Even if they do, they bury their desires and aspirations deeply in their hearts for any number of reasons, not least for fear they may achieve what they want.
Aspirations are getting more difficult to achieve these days. Whilst we still aspire to those basic needs of food, warmth and security, we now tend to look for something deeper and more complex. Brands and the sense of belonging they inspired worked for a while, but not so much these days. Today you want to find meaning in your life more than anything. Community and connection, integrity, spirituality and experience are now as or more important than food and drink or cars.
Finally, families and individuals face financial disorganisation. Their money does not support their lifestyle, either desired or achieved. Lets face it, money is as essential to living as air is to life. If you haven’t got your money organised you are unlikely to be able to achieve the life you want, let alone sleep at night. This is especially so if your passion is for something more individual and fulfilling than the daily purchase of impersonal, commoditised goods.
The path to personal and financial freedom
Personal and financial freedom and a fulfilled life, which is what most of us want when it boils down to it, requires a deep integration of life and money and a full understanding of the role of money in our lives and our relationship with money.
Therefore, if you are desperately seeking help on the CA website at 11.00 on a Sunday evening or if are sitting at your computer frustrated at the lack of meaning in your life then its certainly going to help if you:
- Invest some time in looking at yourself, understanding who you are and what you want from life
- Clarify the role of money in your life and your emotional relationship with money so that you can build a strong and stable relationship with your money
- Identify and analyse the social and economic pressures on you so you can take steps to neutralise them
- Work out where you want to get to, identify what’s stopping you and make a plan for your life and money that will get you to your destination
- Invest in yourself through courses, literature, personal development programmes and tools to help you with your life and money
We have established Living Money and this blog for this reason. It will provide you with some of the guidance, mentorship and skilled help that you probably need on this journey. Above all, it is all for free and you are invited to make the most of it.
The Living Money Blog
We have broken down the articles into six themes (and sub-themes)
in which we aim to help you answer questions such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘What am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’. Themes within this theme include Self-discovery, Personal Audit and Aspirations
in which we look at the theatre in which you are a player, the audience that you play to and the way things are moving. We’ll spend time on trends that might provide you with opportunities or be a threat to your happiness
in which we look at why its important to grow and how to grow. Sub-Theme include Obstacles, Integrity, Skills and Planning
in which we aim to help you understand the role of money in your life and your relationship with money. Themes include Relationship with Money, Spirit of Money and Practical Money
in which we explore with you the role and meaning of work in your life and its importance in the work-life, income-expenditure equation
in which we look at ways of managing and planning your personal, physical and financial resources. Themes in this theme include Financial Planning, Resource Planning and Time Planning.
We have created this site to lead you along the road to personal and financial freedom. In so doing you will find help and support to bring your life and money into harmony, slay your scarcity dragons, build your self worth and your net worth, sleep at night, live wholeheartedly by day and master your life and money.
(Updated 27 Apr 18)
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